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Register a vessel

Ships registered on the Australian general shipping register have Australian nationality.

Registration of a ship on the Australian general shipping register provides legally and internationally recognisable nationality to your ship. When registered, you will have Australian protection on the high seas and in foreign ports.

A vessel may require certification in accordance with:

Australian owned ships are required to be registered on the Australian general shipping register if it is one of the following:

  • a commercial vessel, 24 metres or over in tonnage length, capable of navigating the high seas
  • any vessel travelling overseas.

The following vessels are exempt from the requirement to be registered (except if they are travelling overseas):

  • pleasure craft
  • fishing vessels
  • government vessels.

These vessels are permitted to be registered and may be registered on the Australian general shipping register if the owner chooses to do so.

Read more about the definition of an Australian owned ship.

Australian registered recreational vessels may also require state registration. If you need to find out whether you need state registration, contact your local state marine safety agency

The Australian international shipping register is open to Australian owned or operated, international trading ships which meet specific criteria. Read more about which ships are eligible to register on the Australian international shipping register.

Recreational vessels

If you intend sailing your recreational vessel overseas from:

  • an Australian port to a foreign port
  • a foreign port to a foreign port
  • a foreign port to an Australian port

You must register your vessel on the Australian general shipping register before you leave. 

Recreational vessels on international voyages are also required to comply with certain marine orders.

Domestic commercial vessels

If you own a domestic commercial vessel over 24 metres tonnage length you must register it on the Australian general shipping register. Registration of a vessel on the Australian general shipping register does not automatically permit you to undertake commercial or recreational operations. You can contact us if you have questions about certification requirements for commercial vessels.

Which register does your ship need to be on?

Register your vessel on the general Australian register

What do I need to do?

To register your ship, you need to:

Register your vessel on the international register

What do I need to do?

To register your ship, you need to:

Last updated: 

Monday 15 October 2018